Howdy. Rupert Wingfield-Hayes crossed my radar/police scanner last week. Truth. I was watching the BBC news and he was reporting FROM North Korea. My interest was piqued and I had to put down my knitting. This almost never happens. First of all, the BBC had a correspondent reporting from North Korea? What the what? Did North Korea know about it? Of course they did and Rupert and his team were flanked by minders pretty much every step they took while there. Second, Rupert is SUCH a posh English name. Plus that double-barrelled surname makes me think that Rupert went to Oxbridge, wears salmon coloured trousers and has a pinkie ring with his family crest emblazoned on it. His father is most likely an Earl who bemoans the fact that he is land rich and money poor. Because with a name like ‘Rupert’ that is the sort of imagery that comes to mind-oh and don’t think I am the only one who thinks this. Truth.
Rupert Wingfield-Hayes brief bio (and I was completely wrong about his background)
Wingfield-Hayes has worked as a BBC correspondent since 1999. He studied South East Studies at the University of Hull and SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies-fantastic school BTW). Wingfield-Hayes was the BBC Beijing correspondent from 2000-2006 and later the Moscow correspondent in 2007. Wingfield-Hayes spent 2 years studying Chinese at National Taiwan National University. Am guessing his Chinese is pretty good. The only thing that Rupert and I have in common is that we both speak Chinese. Yeah. Anyway, in 2013-Wingfield-Hayes was among the first foreign journalists in Tacloban, Philippines after it was struck by Typhoon Haiyan. Fast forward to present day and Wingfield-Hayes was detained in North Korea along with his team over the weekend. Yikes. Hopefully, Wingfield-Hayes will soon be back home in the UK safe and sound but he has just landed the biggest story of his life by being detained in North Korea. Yes. Yes, indeed.
Wingfield-Hayes and his team were expelled from North Korea after being detained over their recent report/broadcast from North Korea. Uh oh. Goodnight sweetheart. Stay for a bit Rupert, as you embrace hard labour, picking turnips for the next 15 years, in North Korea. Good grief. Wingfield-Hayes was questioned for EIGHT hours by North Korean officials and was made to sign a statement. He along with his producer Maria Byrne and cameraman Matthew Goddard were all held over the weekend but my sources now tell me that they are now being taken to the airport. Am assuming they are en route to LHR (London Heathrow)-at least I am hoping they are.
In brief, the BBC team was in North Korea ahead of the Workers Party Congress, accompanying a delegation of Nobel prize laureates conducting a research trip. Am not sure why they thought it was a good idea to travel to North Korea-I think we all know what goes on in North Korea or rather, we know, but are presented with a different set of images which portrays shiny, happy people, laughing. Just. Not. True. So as a result of his reporting on behalf of the BBC, Wingfield-Hayes and his team have upset the North Korean leadership with their reports, which highlighted aspects of life in the capital.
I did see the Wingfield-Hayes reporting last week on the BBC and he seemed cautious and controlled in equal measure as he reported on North Korea, in a fair and transparent manner, as his North Korean minders hovered gingerly around him. But, I guess they were none too pleased with him and subsequently stopped him at the airport right at the moment he was about to board his flight back home and questioned him for EIGHT hours. Yikes. It all went a bit ‘Pete Tong’ (wrong) but, like I said, Wingfield-Hayes and his team are now headed back to the UK. Massive relief.